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Rex Grossman Coming To Terms With Being Robert Griffin III’s Backup

By ZAC BOYER | zboyer@freelancestar.com | @ZacBoyer

ASHBURN – Rex Grossman hasn’t had a lot of time to watch Robert Griffin III through the first six days of the Washington Redskins’ organized team activities, but he already likes what he’s seen.

Grossman

“From day one, he hadn’t had a missed call,” Grossman said Thursday at Redskins Park. “He’s gotten a lot better from the first day I was out here until today, you know? He looks pretty good. He’s definitely getting better. Somebody with that skill set – the sky’s the limit.”

Griffin, the No. 2 overall selection in the NFL Draft in April, was named the starting quarterback by head coach Mike Shanahan after the conclusion of rookie minicamp earlier this month.

Grossman, who started all but three games last season and completed 57.9 percent of his passes for 3,151 yards with 16 touchdowns and 20 interceptions, is penciled in as Griffin’s primary backup.

Though Grossman knew Griffin had a reputation as a strong passer while in college, it wasn’t until the two began the voluntary workouts last week that he was able to see Griffin’s arm strength for himself. In fact, Grossman has been most impressed with what seems like a lack of effort Griffin actually requires to throw the ball.

“I mean, it’s more of running to your left and flicking your wrist and throwing it 70 yards,” Grossman said. “There’s a whip about the arm, like [Philadelphia quarterback] Michael Vick. You know what I mean? It just comes out like a whip and jumps off his hands. … He’s gonna make some impressive plays this year. He’s gonna do a lot. He’s gonna have a lot of big plays – not just running, but making big plays down the field when the play breaks down and he’s scrambling.”

Accepting a role as a backup is nothing new to Grossman, who was on and off the bench during six years in Chicago, served as the backup to Matt Schaub in Houston in 2009 and sat behind Donovan McNabb until the end of his first season with the Redskins in 2010.

This role will be different, though. Grossman knows that he’s only likely to see the field if Griffin gets hurt, and though Griffin hadn’t been drafted when Grossman signed a new contract with Washington on March 21, it was a reality he had come to face.

“Well, you know, it’s – it’s definitely tough, but it is what it is,” Grossman cautiously said. “You do what your role is and you do it the best you can, and you know, it’ll be tough maybe the first game of the year, but you’re a team.”

As for the mentorship role, Grossman said he hasn’t been too hands-on with Griffin yet, but he’s starting to come to terms with what he should be doing and what he should leave to the coaches.

“Once you’ve accepted your role – it is enjoyable to go out there and take care of your business, compete and make sure that you’re getting better,” Grossman said. “At the same time, when it’s not your turn to get a rep, you’re there, helping out, watching, telling him some certain things about our routes and how you read them and going through the things.

“At this point, he’s doing good. There’s a lot more we have left to install and everything. We’re working on all the defenses in the NFL and how that relates, but he’s doing a hell of a job with it.”

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